By now, you probably know that Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced today the Emergency Order will expire Feb. 9, and the Stay-At-Home Order will remain in place until Feb. 16. Listen here.
When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open. Read it here.
"This is not a re-opening or a 'return to normal' and we must continue to limit close contact to our immediate households and stay at home except for essential reasons. By continuing to follow all public health and workplace safety measures, we can continue to reduce the number of new cases and the strain on our health system," said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, in today's briefing.
So what does that mean?
In Huron-Perth, we are expected to return to the framework that existed prior to Dec. 26. We will go back to the Orange Zone, where both essential and non-essential businesses were open, restaurants were allowed to seat diners, and personal services were provided. However, there will be some changes while trying to keep business open.
According to the Framework, new for Orange-Restrict as of February 2021:
- Stores must have passive screening for patrons (for example, posting signs outside the store front about not entering if you have COVID-19 symptoms)
This does not apply to indoor malls, which will have to do screening in accordance with instructions by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request. You can find more information and a template here.
In part, the indicators for remaining open will depend on the public health system capacity and the hospital and ICU capacity.
Recognizing the risk posed by new variants to the province's pandemic response, Ontario is introducing an "emergency brake" to allow for immediate action if a public health unit region experiences rapid acceleration in COVID-19 transmission or if its health care system risks becoming overwhelmed. If this occurs, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, may advise immediately moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission.
Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries in a Zoom webinar to discuss the government’s response to COVID-19 as we approach the end of the province-wide lockdown. A briefing on regulatory changes and their impacts on heritage, sport, tourism and culture sectors presented by MHSTCI Assistant Deputy Ministers Steve Harlow and Kevin Finnerty. Listen here.
Statement from Ontario Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rocco Rossi (who will be guest speaker at our virtual AGM, Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 am). Read it here.
Canadian Press story published in the London Free Press Feb. 8. Read it here.